Transforming Regions:
From Convergence to
Open Days 2005
Gerry Finn
BMW Regional Assembly
Presentation Overview
• Profile of the Border, Midland and Western Region
• Processes Undertaken – Audit of Innovation
– Regional Foresight
• Challenges Identified
• Lessons for next round of Structural Funding
Regional Context
 BMW Region has 47% of land area, 27% of population &
19% of national GDP
 Growing Regional Divide in terms of GDP,
unemployment, “brain drain” & infrastructure
 Significant underspend in BMW Region at Mid-Term
stage of NDP – particular underspend in roads, public
transport, broadband and R&D
 Infrastructure deficit - roads, electricity, gas, ICT etc.
 NSS sets a new framework for regional development
The Economy of the BMW Region
• Traditional sectors (agriculture/food
processing/tourism) in decline
• Low level of high value added activities
• Low R&D - most research funds allocated
to S&E Region
• Relatively low levels of innovation
• Commitment of Industrial Development
Authority to provide 50% of greenfield sites
in the region
Audit of Innovation:
To establish baseline situation in the region
Identify enablors and barriers to innovation
Assess the causes of low innovation activity
Develop concrete proposals to improve performance
• Comprehensive process involving:
- Desk research
- Company Surveys
- Focus group discussion- Industry case studies
- One to one interviews - Interim seminar
Scope of the Audit
• Profiling of the BMW Region’s economy,
Industry structure & employment trends
• Review of entrepreneurial system, company
start ups and growth rates.
• Survey of 215 firms in the BMW region on
innovation performance, supports & barriers.
• Review of Development support system.
• Assessment of role of 3rd level sector & impact
of infrastructure & entrepreneurial culture on
• Recommendations & Pilot Actions
ICT Companies in Ireland
Computer Software Development / Services
Computer Hardware / Related Products
Quantum Ireland
Xerox Technology
Prumerica Systems Ireland
CMS Peripherals Ireland
Hewlett Packard
Siebel Systems
Nortel Networks
American Power Conversion
Enterasys Networks
Chorus Communications
Analog Devices
Apple Computer
Banta Global Turnkey
EMC Ireland
Motorola Ireland
SDL Ireland
Alps Electric (Ireland)
Apple Computer
Flextronics International Cork
Avaya Ireland
Hewlett Packard
Intel Ireland
© CIRCA Group
Agilent Technology
Agtel Ltd
AIM Carat
Amdahl Ireland
AMT/Sybex Group
AOL Technologies Ireland
Apple Centre Typetec
Baltimore Technologies
Bowne Global Solutions
Hewlett Packard Ireland
Cable & Wireless/ ALLnet
Commergy Ltd.
Creative Labs Ireland
Critical Path
Data Electronics Group Ltd.
Datapac Ltd
EDS (Ireland)
Eicon Networks
Fineos Corporation
FISC Ireland
Fujitsu Consulting
Fujitsu Services
Horizon Technology Group
Iona Technologies
Lionbridge Technologies
Microsoft European Operations
Misys International Banking
Memorex Telex Ireland
Modus Media International
Novell Ireland Software
Oracle Europe
Riverdeep Interactive Learning
Sage Ireland
SAP Service & Support Ctre
Saturn Fulfilment Services
Silicon & Software Systems
Spectel Multi Link Group
Sun Microsystems Ireland
Trintech Group
Vision Consulting
Siemens (I) Ltd
Xerox Europe
3Com Ireland
APW Enclosure
Avid Technology
Benchmark Electronics Irl.
Cara Group
Eurologic Systems
Fujitsu-Siemens Computers
Hitachi Printing Sol. Europe
IBM Ireland
Lake Communications
MTI Technology Ireland
Osmosis Ireland
Sercom Solutions
Stratus Technologies
Zomax Ireland
20:20 Logistics Ireland
LM Ericsson Holdings
Esat BT
Lucent Technologies
MCI Ireland
ETel Group
Border Regional Authority
Midland Regional Authority
West Regional Authority
Results of Firm survey
Survey of 215 firms found that in BMW region:
 Levels of innovation lower than national average (53%
versus 79%)
 Lower rate of product development & patenting
 Lower rate of linkages with research/3rd level institutions
 Absorbtive capacity for new development generally
 Lower rate of employment of graduates and
Development Support system
• Low access to and uptake of venture capital
• Low expenditure in the region on industrial RTDI
• Level of participation in company based R & D
schemes is low
• Need for continued focus on Foreign Direct investment
• Many schemes not sufficiently geared to the needs of
companies in the region.
Infrastructure & Role of Third Level
• Infrastructure deficits add costs to doing business & acts
as a disincentive to inward investment
• Continued investment needed in roads, rail, air,
telecommunications & energy infrastructure
• New strategies required in 3rd level sector
• Additional resources for industry relevant research
• Knowledge drain of graduates out of the region evident
• Need for greater technology transfer between
research/3rd level institutions & companies throughout
the region
Framework for Regional Innovation
Overview of the Foresight Process
• 18 month process involving wide consultation within & outside
the region
• Co-ordinated by BMW Regional Assembly secretariat
• Facilitated by consultants CM International
• Steering Committee & 4 expert panels
• Wide consultation nationally & within region
• Submissions invited from interested parties
• Local/regional/national endorsement obtained
Challenges to the BMW Region as a
Competitive Region
• Transport and Communications Infrastructure
• Supporting Business Clusters and Centres of
• Increase in Knowledge-Intensive Activities
• Competitive use of Natural Resources
• Increasing Entrepreneurship
• Industry-Relevant Support Programmes
Challenges to the BMW Region as an
Innovating Region
• Greater Flexibility and Adaptive Attitudes to
Respond to Change
• Education and Skills Levels to Increase
• Inter-Agency Colloboration and AcademicIndustrial Linkages
• Technology Transfer and Company Spin-Outs
• Clustering and Spatial Specialisation
• Building a Regional Research Base
Challenges to the BMW Region as a
Knowledge Region
Identifying and Responding to Future Skills Needs
Increasing the Knowledge Capacity of the Region
Increasing Life-Long Learning in the Region
Appropriate Delivery Mechanisms for Further
• Flexibility and Adaptability of Skills
• Graduate Retention and Attraction
• Resources for all Education Levels
Challenges to the BMW Region as a
Quality of Life Region
• A Desirable Place in which to Live, Work, Visit,
• Social Infrastructure
• Sustainability – Improved Living Environment
• Spatial Development Strategies
• Diversity, Access and Equality
• Cultural and Social Environment
4 Themes & 4 Panels
4 expert panels selected to explore themes
• A Knowledge Region
• A Competitive Region
• A Quality of Life Region
• An Innovative Region
A Vision for the BMW
Region in 2025
An innovative, knowledge-based and
competitive region, with a high quality
environment, first class infrastructure,
visionary leadership and a quality of life
for its citizens that is among the highest
in the world
Vision, 5 Components &
2 Cross-cutting Themes
21st Century
High quality
environment for
and knowledge as
of prosperity
Equality of Opportunity
Effective regional
management &
visionary leaders
The Strategic Objectives
• Place 3rd level institutions at the heart of the region’s
future prosperity
• Create an innovation & entrepreneurial culture
• Build on existing clusters & concentrate investment
• Invest in infrastructure that builds on the NSS
• Strengthen regional leadership
The Strategic Objectives (cntd.)
• Invest in attracting and retaining skills
• Invest in leading edge business support
• Invest to make the region’s high quality
environment sustainable
• Invest in community & social capital to
ensure sustainability
• Invest in physical infrastructure to
maximise knowledge capital
Lessons for Next Round of
Structural Funds
• New approaches to research and innovation activities
required and new partnership arrangements
• Greater regional differentiation in national strategies
• Innovative delivery mechanisms e.g. County and Group
Broadband Scheme
• Greater focus on Ireland’s National Spatial Strategy as a
framework for investment
Lessons for Next Round of
Structural Funds
• Need for greater added value for community funds
• Better co-ordination with national expenditure plans and
with agriculture, fisheries, rural, research programmes
and human resources
• Frontloading in phasing-in regions requires a pipeline of
“spend-ready” measures
• Infrastructure deficiencies still prevalent – a key
determinent of competitiveness

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